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Understanding and Using Argus Slide Trays and Carousels

Before digital images made it possible to share photographs instantaneously via social media, amateur and professional photographers relied solely on film to capture their images. The negatives that resulted after processing the film were used not only to develop photographic images in a darkroom, but also to create slides that could be used for presentations, entertainment, and education. Argus slide trays and carousels offered a unique storage and loading system for these to be automatically loaded into slide projectors that would then project the image onto a screen for viewing.

What's the difference between a straight and carousal slide tray?

The differences between the two types of tray housings are based on:

  • Shape
  • Orientation
  • Continuous slide shows
How does a slide tray work?

A straight slide tray is a horizontal tray, shaped like a small, long rectangle, with a capacity of 60 or more units within the box. This tray is attached to the side of a corresponding slide projector, which then automatically inserts one slide after another, from start to finish. Once the slide projector reaches the last unit, the existing slide tray must be removed and reattached to repeat the same set of slides, or a different slide tray or loaded box must be attached.

A carousel slide tray is also known as a rotary tray and is shaped like a circle, similar to a tire or donut. Each slide is inserted in its proper position within the rotary tray, so that the first and the last slide are adjacent to each other, as the tray is in a circle rather than a straight line. Carousel slide trays are great for slideshows where continuous play is needed, as the projector will simply continue inserting one after another without the need for changing or remounting the carousel tray.

What is the capacity of different Argus straight trays?

Depending on the model and year of manufacture, Argus straight slide trays range in capacity from 36 units to 60 or 80 units. It should be noted that carousel slide trays, when introduced, offered not only greater ease in use for a continuous showing of a slideshow, but greater capacity, with 100 slides or more.

How are slides held in place in a slide tray?

In Argus brand trays, both straight trays and carousel, the slides are housed individually in metal magazines that resemble individual files. The metal housing both separates and protects the delicate slides from damage when the slide is inserted into the slide projector.

Are Argus slide trays compatible with different projectors?

These units can be used with projectors manufactured by different companies. Be sure to check the manufacturer's specifications for compatibility across different companies, brands, models, and years of manufacture.